16 January 2001
‘Green tape threatens UK growers’

By FWi staff

ENVIRONMENTAL “green” tape threatens to strangle British horticulture by forcing companies abroad, claims a new survey by the National Farmers Union.

Growers are facing hundreds of millions of pounds in extra costs due to an unprecedented increase in environmental regulation, says the union.

Ironically, this is despite horticulture being one of the “greenest” industries, according to the NFU UK Horticulture: A Time for Understanding report.

Growers already employ a host of “green” techniques to conserve soil and water and reduce the use of pesticides, says the union.

The report was launched on Tuesday (16 January) at horticultural trade event HortEx 2001 at Telford, Shropshire by NFU vice president Michael Paske.

He said: “The industry is threatened with literally being “exported” abroad by the mass of legislation forced upon it, even though it already leads the field in being environmentally friendly.”

Current and proposed green tape includes the climate change levy, waste regulations and water bill.

Extra legislation, on top of the strains of low prices, damaging exchange rates and the recent bad weather, threatens to cost jobs, warns the NFU.

Carrot production in 2000 is forecast to be 15% down, it notes, while imports of fruit and vegetables increased by 50% and 68% respectively over the last 10 years.

The NFU is calling for the removal of excessive green tape and a partnership between the government and growers on implementing regulations.

It also asks for the Government to continuing supporting environmental schemes and instilling environmental responsibility in every member of society.